Monthly Archives

May 2022

Research Findings

Gender, race, class, and family care disparities shape the landscape of remote work during COVID-19

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May 12, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic sent large numbers of workers whose jobs permitted it into working from home. At the peak more than 60% of U.S. workers worked remotely. Working from home blurs the boundaries between work and personal lives. We find, surprisingly, that remote work brought with it both more and fewer hours, but this varied depending on family care responsibilities as well as gender, race, and class.

Work hours are important because working time is a fundamental aspect of working conditions associated with pay and status, family and personal lives, as well as health and well-being. Given the currently “frighteningly high levels” of burnout among U.S. workers, it becomes all the more important to understand how working from home affects hours worked.

In a recently published study, we investigate how work hours changed as women and men moved to remote working conditions, and how remote workers themselves account for increases, decreases, or stability in their work hours. We find different experiences for women and men, as well as at the intersections of gender with caregiving obligations, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

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Commentary

When it comes to addressing gender inequality in STEM fields, the leaky pipeline problem starts with the metaphor

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May 5, 2022

By many accounts, women self-select out of STEM programs at various points across the career trajectory because they feel they do not belong, or because they feel less confident in their ability to thrive in a STEM career. When speaking of issues related to gender inequality in STEM, the predominant metaphor used is that of a “leaky pipeline.”

Last year, we completed a report for a scientific governing body on ways they can make their funding services to university faculty more equitable. We interviewed women who opted out of academic careers because the culture in their labs was inhospitable. And we documented stories of interviewees’ colleagues who experienced harassment and likewise opted out of academia.

Taken together, we were provided evidence of a leaky pipeline, and we had conversations with interview participants about what might ultimately be its cause. These conversations were unsettling and unsatisfactory because we kept butting against the issue of recruitment, hiring, and retention. But the real problem with the leaky pipeline explanation of gender inequality is the metaphor itself.

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